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Kei Nishikori Citi Open Semifinals Serve

Nishikori Defeats Cilic in Citi Open Semifinals

Washington DC (Tennisfiles) – In a rematch of last year’s US Open final, Japanese sensation Kei Nishikori defeated Marin Cilic 3-6 6-1 6-4 in the Citi Open semis. Cilic could not sustain his strong serving in the first set, and Nishikori wore down the Croatian with his speed and pinpoint groundstrokes.

Cilic dominated early from the baseline and broke Nishikori in the second game. The second seed gifted Cilic the break with a double fault and unforced errors.

Cilic had trouble consolidating the break in the next game. He missed a deep Nishikori return into the net at 30-40. The Croatian then double faulted and unsuccessfully challenged the call, but saved a break point when Nishikori missed a backhand pass wide.

Cilic missed a short forehand into the net to give the Japanese player another break chance, but Nishikori missed a backhand wide. A forced error and backhand winner gave Cilic the game and a 3-0 lead.

In the ninth game, Cilic placed two solid second serves down the T to force Nishikori return errors and get to triple set point. After a Cilic miss into the net, the Croat clinched the set 6-3 with an Ace out wide.

Marin Cilic Citi Open 2015 Serve

Marin Cilic Citi Open 2015 Serve

Cilic’s level dropped off considerably in the second set. He was broken twice and his second serves, which were consistently in the 110mph range the first set, dipped to below 100mph. Nishikori served well, and yielded only one point on his first service game of the second set.

Nishikori pressured Cilic’s serve in the second game. A forehand winner and a long rally that ended with an error off the Croat forehand gave Nishikori the early break.

Kei Nishikori Citi Open Semifinals Forehand

Kei Nishikori Citi Open Semifinals Forehand

At 30-40 in the next game, Nishikori saved a break point with an ace out wide for deuce. He consolidated the break off a Cilic missed return and unforced error.

At 3-0, Nishikori requested a medical timeout out and the trainer massaged his legs. Cilic double faulted to give Nishikori another opening at 15-30, and he converted the opportunity for a double break 4-0 lead.

Nishikori scrambled for a drop shot, inadvertently hitting it at Cilic’s face for a volley error. He apologized, and perhaps feeling guilty, double faulted to give Cilic a 15-30 opportunity.

The Japanese player was pushed to deuce four times in the game. He missed a routine overhead in the partly windy conditions. However he recovered to win the game on an exquisite down the line backhand.

Kei Nishikori Citi Open Semifinals Backhand

Kei Nishikori Citi Open Semifinals Backhand

Cilic held in the sixth game of the game, but dropped the set 6-1 off a Nishikori inside-out forehand winner.

After a bathroom break, Nishikori broke immediately in the deciding set off a missed Cilic backhand slice that hit the court before rolling toward the net.

Nishikori saved a break point at 30-40 when Cilic missed a forehand wide. Nishikori then hit a backhand down the line winner to consolidate the break.

The pair traded breaks at 3-4, and at 5-4 15-30 Nishikori, Cilic sprayed another forehand wide for double match point. The Croatian changed his racquets on double match-point, but would only play two more points with new strings.

After missing a forehand, Nishikori clinched the victory on his second match point when Cilic dumped a backhand into the net.

Despite the loss, Cilic was pleased with his performance, saying: “Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the performance, and definitely it is giving me some vision for the next days and next weeks on what to be focused on.”

Nishikori explained his comeback after the first set: “He was playing well so I let go of the first set and tried to hit more aggressive.  Some of the shots I just have to close my eyes and hit the ball.  I had to change a bit mentally, and there were many ups and downs.  It was a tough three sets, but I showed some good tennis.”

Nishikori plays American John Isner in the final on Sunday. Isner edged compatriot Steve Johnson 6-3 3-6 7-6(9) in a hard-fought rematch from last year’s Citi Open, which Johnson won in a third-set tiebreak.

2015 Citi Open Friday Recap: Nishikori-Cilic, Johnson-Isner Set For Saturday

Washington DC (Tennisfiles) – Japanese star Kei Nishikori moved on with another convincing 6-4 6-4 win over hard-serving Sam Groth of Australia. He gave a press conference to the media and discussed his relationship with coach Michael Chang.

Croatian Marin Cilic was also victorious, setting up a rematch of the 2014 US Open final against Nishikori for Saturday. He defeated German talent Alexander Zverev 7-5 7-6(3). The teen mounted a comeback from two breaks down but fell just short in the second set. Cilic gave a press conference about his win below.

American John Isner defeated Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-3 5-7 6-3. Berankis hit a couple clean returns and was able to break the American at 5-6 in the second. However, the Lithuanian quickly faded in the decider.  Consecutive double faults in the third game all but sealed the win for Isner.

John Isner 2015 Citi Open

John Isner 2015 Citi Open

Isner’s opponent in the semifinals will be fellow American Steve Johnson, who upset 15th seed Jack Sock 7-6(5) 6-1.

One of the most entertaining matches of the day featured 2015 French Open Champions Marcelo Melo of Brazil and Croatian Ivan Dodig defeat Spaniard Feliciano Lopez and Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-4 6-7(9) 10-7.

Marcelo Melo Ivan Dodig 2015 Citi Open Overhead

Marcelo Melo Ivan Dodig 2015 Citi Open Overhead

Melo and Dodig spoke with Mehrban from Tennisfiles about their quarterfinal victory, what makes them a great team, and how they have handled adversity.

 

Bob and Mike Bryan squeaked by Treat Huey of the Philippines and American Scott Lipsky 6-3 3-6 10-6. Lipsky and University of Virginia standout Huey made a valiant effort against the legendary doubles pair, racing to a 5-0 lead in the second. They forced a match tiebreak after a Lipsky hold. The Bryan quickly regained their form, and won the match with superior net presence and well-placed returns in the decider.

Bryan Brothers Huey Lispky - 2015 Citi Open

Bryan Brothers Huey Lispky – 2015 Citi Open

Earlier, Sam Stosur advanced when Monica Niculescu retired trailing 4-0 with a left abdominal strain. Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova narrowly defeated American Christina McHale 2-6 6-1 7-6(5).

Kei Nishikori - Citi Open 2015

2015 Citi Open Thursday Results: Zverev, Nishikori Advance

Washington DC (Tennisfiles) – 18-year old German phenom Alexander Zverev continued his impressive run with a 2-6, 6-3 6-4 win over Ukranian Alexandr Dolgopolov.

The win marked his second straight victory over a top 100 opponent for the 96th-ranked Zverev. In the previous round, the young German defeated 5th seed and #14 ranked Kevin Anderson of South Africa.

Zverev turned pro in 2013, and at 6’6 with a powerful game, the 18-year old has the potential to be one of the best players in the world.

Mehrban from Tennisfiles asked the German phenom about his run through the draw in Washington DC and his success at such a young age:

 

Japanese sensation Kei Nishikori defeated 16th seed Leonardo Mayer 6-4 6-4.  He gave a press conference to the media after his routine win and denied rumors that his girlfriend is pregnant.

American Christina McHale outlasted Yuliya Puntintseva of Kazakhstan 2-6 6-1 7-5.  The New Jersey native discussed her third set comeback below:

 

In earlier action, Naomi Broady of Great Britain fell to top seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. Broady’s powerful serves troubled the Russian but the number one seed more consistent game came through.

Ekaterina Makarova Citi Open 2015

Ekaterina Makarova Citi Open 2015

Sam Groth of Australia advanced over Spaniard Fernando Lopez in straight sets today. Mehrban asks him about his training at the University of Richmond, and finds out what made him choose to practice with the team.

In other action, Steve Johnson recorded an impressive 3-set victory over Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic edged past Sam Querrey in 2 tiebrekers, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova upset 3rd-seed Belinda Bencic in straight sets. John Isner was up a break in the first set and the Bryan brothers ahead a set against Murray/Peers early Friday morning.

Gabashvili defeats Murray - 2015 Citi Open

2015 Citi Open: Murray Upset by Gabashvili in Thriller

Washington, DC (Tennisfiles) – Top seeded Andy Murray, playing at the Citi Open for the first time in a decade, lost to Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4).

Murray started off flat in the first set and struggled to defend against Gabashvili’s pinpoint groundstrokes.  Gabashvili could not sustain his level of play in the second, dropping serve off a missed overhead at the baseline.

Gabashvili called for the trainer at 2-1 in the third set, and he emerged with a wrapped leg.  However he would later say that he requested it to be wrapped for precautionary reasons because his body was tightening up.

The top seed was serving for the match at 5-4 but could not convert. Murray’s groundstrokes uncharacteristically produced a series of unforced errors, allowing the Russian to come back into the match.

The tiebreak saw Gabashvili play without fear and ramp up his aggression. The World Team Tennis  MVP dominated the baselines rallies to notch what he called his most important victory of his career.

Sam Groth, wildcard Louisa Chirico, and John Isner also advanced on Wednesday.

Kei Nishikori Serve - 2015 Citi Open

2015 Citi Open Tuesday Recap: Interviews, Press Conferences, and Pictures

Washington, DC (Tennisfiles) – Second seed Sam Stosur of Australia kicked off Tuesday’s action at the 2015 Citi Open with a convincing 6-2 6-2 win against Kristina Mladenovic of France.

British qualifier Naomi Broady had one of the tightest matches of the day, upsetting higher ranked Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 3-6 7-5 7-6(6) in 2:17. She gave Mehrban her thoughts on the match, her warm-up routine, and her favorite pre-match meal in a very enjoyable post-match interview:

 

American Jack Sock defeated Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 7-6(7) 6-3. He spoke with Mehrban about the tiebreak and gave us a valuable tip on how to develop a good serve.

Aussie Lleyton Hewitt was victorious against fellow Australian John-Patrick Smith, 6-3 6-4. He gave a post-match press conference about the win and discussed his final year on the tour.

In the headliner of the night, second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan was pushed by James Duckworth of Australia, prevailing 6-7(8) 6-1 6-4.

Duckworth played a strong first set, hitting a key ace down set point:

James Duckworth Serve 2015 Citi Open

James Duckworth Serve 2015 Citi Open

A Nishikori error at 7-7 gave Duckworth the tiebreak and Japan’s #1 took time on the changeover to regroup.

Kei Nishikori 2015 Citi Open Changeover

Kei Nishikori 2015 Citi Open Changeover

Nishikori came roaring back, commanding a 3-0 lead before Duckworth got on the scoreboard.

Kei Nishikori 2015 Citi Open Return

Kei Nishikori 2015 Citi Open Return

Nishikori was able to break Duckworth early in the third set, and Duckworth could not recover.

Nishikori Duckworth 2015 Citi Open Shake Hands

Nishikori Duckworth 2015 Citi Open Shake Hands

Nishikori Duckworth Citi Open 2015 Scoreboard

Nishikori Duckworth Citi Open 2015 Scoreboard

In other action, Sam Querrey narrowly defeated Go Soeda of Japan 6-3 5-7 6-4, Aussie Sam Groth topped Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 7-6(8) 4-6 6-3, and Canadian Vasek Pospisil downed American Donald Young 7-5 6-3.

Top seed Andy Murray plays Teymuraz Gabashvili Wednesday.

Donald Young Citi Open 2015

2015 Citi Open: Young, Soeda Win 1st Round

Washington DC (Tennisfiles) – First round main draw action at the 2015 Citi Open tennis tournament kicked off on Monday. The match of the day saw American Donald Young defeat Tommy Haas of Germany 6-3 6-4.

Both players traded breaks early, but Young took another service game from the German to seize the first set. Young was nearly flawless when making his first serve, winning 16 of 18 points.

Haas held a 4-1 advantage in the second set, but did not win another game. Haas handed Young an opportunity to serve out the match when the German veteran struck a forehand approach shot that was confirmed out after a challenge.

Young started the final game of the match with a double fault, but took a brief 30-15 lead off consecutive Haas unforced errors. Haas hit a clean inside out forehand winner to reach 30-all, but Young earned his first match point with a short-angled backhand volley winner off an outstretched passing shot from Haas. The American clinched the victory off a Haas backhand unforced error.

Go Soeda of Japan breezed past Barbadian Darian King in the first round. King battled through two matches in qualifying over the weekend, and could only muster three games in a 6-2 6-1 loss.

Soeda spoke with Mehrban of Tennisfiles after his win:

 

One of the most entertaining matches of the day featured Canadian-American duo Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock, 2014 Wimbledon Champions, against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and American Mardy Fish. Both teams filled the grandstand to capacity, thanks in large part to three tight tiebreak sets.

After taking the first tiebreaker 7-2, Pospisil/Sock served for the match. Fish/Dimitrov responded by breaking back and taking the second set tiebreak 7-5.

At 7-all in the third-set match tiebreak, Fish hit a reflex-mishit drop volley for the crucial mini break. Pospisil hit a beautifully placed serve out wide to even the breaker at 8-all, but double faulted to set up match point for Fish/Dimitrov. The Bulgarian launched a powerful serve down the T that won the match: Sock misjudged the bounce, swung too low, and failed to make contact with the ball.

18-year old Alexander Zverev of Germany, Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu, and American Louisa Chirico also advanced to the second round in today’s action.

The night ended with victories from Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia over German Benjamin Becker in three sets, 4-6 6-1 6-3. Indian Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea of Romania outlasted British #1 Andy Murray and Canada’s Daniel Nestor 2-6, 6-1, 10-3.

Kei Nishikori of Japan, the second seed and #5 player in the world, is set to play Tuesday against British player James Duckworth, a 6-1 7-6(4) winner against American qualifier Ryan Harrison.

Be sure to check out tennisfiles.com for match reports every day of the Citi Open. We will also feature exclusive footage and audio of press conferences from the top players this week in Washington, DC.

Ryan Harrison 2015 Citi Open Qualifying

Harrison, Nishioka Advance to Citi Open Main Draw

Washington, DC (Tennisfiles) – American Ryan Harrison and Japanese phenom Yoshihito Nishioka were among the six players on the ATP tour who qualified for the main draw of the 2015 Citi Open on Sunday.

Harrison was pushed in the second set but settled down in the tiebreak to defeat Mischa Zverev of Germany 6-3 7-6(3).

The second set featured a back and forth affair, with Zverev twice breaking back to even. At 1-all, Zverev fought back to deuce from 0-40 down with a well-placed approach shot and two serves that were out of the American’s reach.

But Zverev couldn’t complete the comeback. Harrison produced some excellent passing shots and eventually seized the break of serve in the third game to go up 2-1.

Zverev would break back and hold for 5-4. Harrison then mirrored Zverev’s effort to take a 6-5 advantage off an exquisite backhand pass down the line.

Harrison was broken for a second time, but a fast start in the tiebreak propelled him to a 5-1 lead. The former #43 player in the world closed out the match with an unreturnable serve out wide.

Harrison spoke to Tennisfiles after his victory:

 

Japanese young-gun Yoshihito Nishioka reached the main draw with a strong effort against top seed Ivan Dodig of Croatia. Both players traded breaks in the third and fourth game and battled to 6-all.

Dodig went down 3-0 in the tiebreaker and would only muster two points before Nishioka closed out the set. The Japanese player cruised in the second for a 7-6(2) 6-3 victory and a chance to win up to 500 ATP points and $343,000 this week.

Citi Open will host a press conference with Andy Murray tomorrow afternoon. Tennisfiles will be there to cover Andy’s thoughts on the tournament and ask him questions.

Below are the rest of today’s match results:

ATP

Guido Pella (ARG) d. Eric Quigley (USA) 6-3 6-4

John-Patrick Smith (AUS) d. Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) 7-6, 6-1

Darian King (BAR) d. Ze Zhang 7-5 6-3

Marinko Matesovic (AUS) d. Takuto Niki (JAP) 6-2 6-4

Austin Krajicek (USA)/Nicholas Monroe (USA d. Treat Huey (PHI)/Scott Lipsky (USA) 4-6 6-3 1-0 (8)

WTA

An-Sophie Mestach (BEL) d. Tamira Paszek (AUT) 6-2 6-1

Naomi Broady (GBR) d. Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-3 6-3

Julia Glushko (ISR) d. Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) 6-2 6-4

Sanaz Marand (USA) d. Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) 7-6(9) 7-6(6)

Somdev Devvarman Citi Open 2015

2015 Citi Open Day 1: King, Gonzalez Advance to Second Round of Qualifying

The 2015 Citi Open kicked off today with first round qualifying action. The stadium court featured UVA standout and 11th seed Somdev Devvarman falling 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 to Barbadian Darian King.

Devvarman had a lackluster and error-filled start to the match, losing the first set 6-2.   Visibly frustrated, he spiked a ball on the ground when he was broken in the first game of the second set.

Despite his troubles, the 147-ranked player from India did not fade.  He pumped himself up with shouts of “come on” in the third game, breaking to get back on serve after loose play from King.

The pair traded service holds, with Devvarman applying more pressure on the return side, pushing King to deuce when the Barbadian was serving at 4-5.

Devvarman leveled the contest on the 12th game of the set when King dumped a backhand into the net on the 14th shot of the rally.

In the first game of the decider, King served down 15-40 but managed to hold. This proved to be the turning point of the match.

In the next game, Devvarman was broken at 30-40 when King hit a solid deep backhand return.  Devvarman backed up and hit the return into the net. King would add another break in the final frame to win the match.

Another UVA standout, Ryan Shane, faced off against 6th-seeded Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia.

Shane would take the first set 6-3 despite an abysmal 38% first serve percentage. The 21-year old American saved 4/5 break points in the match and twice broke the Colombian. Gonzalez stormed back to take the second set by the same score.  He then broke Shane in the first game of the deciding set and would add another before notching the victory.

Gonzalez spoke with Tennisfiles after his victory:

 

Two British players fell in earlier action: Ze Zhang of China defeated 4th seeded James Ward 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 and Croatian Ivan Dodig inched past Liam Broady 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5). Broady’s sister, Naomi Broady, upset 8th seed Stephanie Foretz of France, 7-5, 6-2.

Jordi Arconada, 2015 Citi Open Wild Card Winner, fell to compatriot Guido Pella 6-4 6-4.

Rajeev Ram, the top seed in the qualifying draw and recent champion at Newport, pulled out of the tournament due to an abductor strain.  He was replaced by American Sekou Bangoura, who fell short against Takuto Niki of Japan 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 (7).

In one of the last matches of the day, Japanese phenom, 19-year old Yoshihito Nishioka, defeated American Wildcard Robby Ginepri 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.  Nishioka spoke with Tennisfiles after his three-set win.

 

Andy Murray, the top seed in the main draw, is scheduled to play Wednesday.  Second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan plays Tuesday.